41 responses

  1. Earlier today, a priest reader emailed me the reflection below, which, to be honest, I’ve not had time to read through properly, but given that it comes from a priest-reader and from Rorate Caeli blog – trustworthy sources (!) I think we are unlikely to be led astray by it, and more likely, edified. So, as ever, we are invited to post our favourite reflections, prayers and hymns (including on video – just right click on the actual video, select “copy embed code” and then come here to click “paste” in the comment box, and the video itself will appear.)

    But no feast is complete without a joke or two, so, mindful that nobody should escape the torture of Christmas cracker jokes, I’ve added one at the end of the reflection! Bloggers are invited to share their favourite Christmas joke, remembering our one stipulation about jokes and funny stories which is that they must fit into the category of “good clean fun”. Enjoy!

    Christmas: The Hour of Faith in the Darkness of the World.

    By Roberto de Mattei.

    ‘Corrispondenza Romana’. 23 December, 2015.

    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2015/12/christmas-hour-of-faith-in-darkness-of.html#more

    Christmas is not only a Western cultural tradition or a simple commemoration, dear to Christians of a historical fact that happened in Palestine 2015 years ago. Christmas is the moment in which the Redeemer of humanity presents Himself to us in a Crib, asking us to adore Him as King and Lord of the Universe. The Nativity, under this aspect, is one of the central Mysteries of our Faith, the door that permits us to enter into all the Mysteries of Christ. Pope St. Leo the Great (440-461) writes:

    “He Who was invisible in His Nature made Himself visible in ours. The Incomprehensible wanted to be understood: He Who is before time, began to be in time; the Lord of the Universe, veiling His Majesty, received the form of a servant”. (Sermo in Nativitate Domini, II, § 2).

    The manifestation in history of the Incarnate Word was also the hour of the greatest jubilation by the Angels. From the instant of their creation, at the dawn of the universe, they knew that God would have become man and they had adored Him, resplendent within the Most Holy Trinity. This Revelation had immediately separated the faithful angels and the rebels, heaven and earth, the children of light and those of the darkness. Finally the moment arrived at Bethlehem for the Angels to prostrate themselves before the Divine Infant, the cause and means of their perseverance, as Father Faber writes. The harmonies of the ‘Gloria in excelsis’ inundated Heaven and earth, but were heard that night only by souls who lived in detachment from the world and in the love of God.

    Among these were the Shepherds of Bethlehem. They didn’t belong to the world of the rich and powerful, but in the solitude and the night vigils keeping their flocks, they had conserved the faith of Israel. They were simple men, open to the supernatural, and were not astonished by the Angel’s apparition, who, whilst shining a celestial light on them, said:

    “For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: For, this day, is born to you a Saviour. Who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.” (Luke 2, 11-12).

    The Shepherds docilely followed the Angel’s indications and were led right to the Cave where they found The Baby in the manger, with Mary and St. Joseph: «Invenerunt Mariam, et Joseph et Infantem positum in Praesepio» (Luke 2, 16). They had the grace of being the first, after Mary and Joseph, to offer on earth, an external act of adoration to The Baby of Bethlehem. Adoring Him, they understood that in His apparent fragility, He was the promised Messiah, the King of the Universe. Christmas is the first affirmation of the Regality of Christ and the manger is his throne. The manger was also the treasure chest of Christian Civilization which then too was born and the Shepherds were its first prophets. This Civilization’s programme was concentrated in the words that a myriad of Angels proclaimed that night: “Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will”. (Luke 2, 14).

    With immense joy, the Shepherds went all over the place, into fields and mountains, announcing the glad news. «Omnes qui audierunt mirati sunt” (Luke 2, 18), everyone marvelled at this news, but not all of them set out for the cave in Bethlehem. Many were immersed in their occupations and renounced the effort that would have changed their lives, in time and eternity. Many others would pass in front of the Cave those days, and perhaps out of curiosity they peered into it, but they didn’t understand or didn’t want to understand the wonder of the event.

    Nonetheless, the Regality of The Baby Jesus was recognized by some of the wisest men of that time. The Magi, Kings of the Orient, were men whose gaze had been absorbed in celestial things, when in the Heavens, a Star appeared to them. The Star was for the Magi what the Angel had been for the Shepherds: The voice of God that says: “Ego sum stella splendida et matutina” – “I am the bright Morning Star”. (Apoc. 22, 16). Also the Magi Kings, like the Shepherds, corresponded perfectly to the Divine urging. They were not the only ones to see the Star, and perhaps they weren’t the only ones to understand its significance, but they were the only ones to set off towards the West. Others perhaps understood, but they didn’t want to leave their Country, their homes and their affairs.

    The Shepherds were there nearby to Bethlehem, the Magi faraway, but a principle applies to both: those who seek God with purity of heart are never abandoned. The Shepherds and Magi bore gifts, of different value, but both offered the greatest gifts they had. They gave to the Holy Child, their eyes, their ears, their mouths, their hearts, their entire life; in a word, they consecrated their bodies and souls to Incarnate Wisdom, and they did so through the hands of Mary and Joseph, in the presence of the entire Heavenly Court. In this they imitated perfect submission to the Will of God of the Child Jesus, Who from God-Word, annihilated Himself in the form of a servant to the Divine Will, and then allowed Himself to be led through all the phases, up to His Death on the Cross and Glory: He didn’t choose His phases, but allowed Himself to be led, moment by moment through the inspiration of Grace – as a mystic of the Seventeenth Century wrote (Jean-Baptiste Sainte-Jure, ‘The Life of Gaston de Renty’, tr. it., Glossa, Milan 2007, p. 254).

    Devotion to the Holy Child is a devotion in which one experiences a radical abandonment to Divine Providence, since that Child wrapped in swaddling clothes is a Man-God, Who annihilated His will in order to do His Father’s, Who is in Heaven, and He would do this by submitting Himself to two sublime creatures – to Him submitted: The Most Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph.

    Holy Christmas is the Day of extreme abandonment to Divine Providence, but also of immense trust in the mysterious plans of God. It is the day, St. Leo the Great writes again, in which

    “The Son of God came to destroy the work of the devil, (1 John, 3, 8), the day in which He united Himself to us and we united ourselves to Him, until the lowering of God towards humanity raises men to God”, (‘In Sermo in Nativitate Domini’, VII, § 2).

    In this same Sermon, St. Leo denounces the scandal of those in his time, who, as they were going up the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica, mixed the Prayers of the Church with invocations directed to the stars and nature:

    “May the Faithful reject this condemnable and perverse habit, may the honour due to God alone be not mixed with the rites of those who adore creatures. Holy Scripture declares: ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and only Him shall you serve’.”

    How can we not fail to see the relevance of these words, while neo-pagan light-displays are being projected on the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica and the pantheistic cult of Nature is celebrated? In these dark hours, may faithful Catholics continue to have the same trust that the Shepherds and Magi had, may they approach the Crib to contemplate Jesus. Christmas is coming, the darkness in which the world is immersed will be dissipated, and the enemies of God tremble, as they know the hour of defeat for them is near. For this they hate Holy Christmas and for this we, with trusting gaze, contemplate the Holy Child Who is born and ask Him to illuminate our minds in darkness, to warm up our hearts in coldness and to fortify our lost consciences in the night of our times.

    Child Jesus, may your Kingdom come! END OF REFLECTION

    JOKE…

    Q… What do you get when you cross Santa Claus with a detective?

    A… Santa Clues!

    Happy Christmas everyone!

  2. My contract doesn’t include Santa Clause, only a sanity clause!!

    A very blessed Christmas to all.

    May I take the opportunity to ask for further prayers for Fr. Anthony Wingerden, who has suffered something of a setback in his recovery. It seems his shoulder wound has become infected and he has undergone a further operation to clean it out with another operation scheduled for next week. It means that in addition to renewed pain and discomfort Father will have to spend another week or two in hospital, so your kind prayers for him would be much appreciated.

    And would you also remember Fr. John McLaughlin in your prayers. He now has the responsibility of covering a huge geographic area on his own, which is going to be pretty exhausting.

    Thank you.

    • Thank you for the update Athanasius; I am sorry to hear Father Wingerden required further operation(s), but its for the best if his wound became infected.

      I will pray for him and for Father McLaughlin at this difficult and challenging time.

    • Athanasius,

      Thank you for that update on Fr W. We must certainly pray for him and for Fr McLaughlin as you suggest.

      I’d take legal advice about that “sanity clause” though, if I were you. After all, you don’t want your employers suing you for breach of contract, now, do you? 😀

    • We are going to my parents house 3littleshepherds. I didn’t think to check what dinner will be, (which is unlike me!), but I would wager it will be chicken for some people (because my mum doesn’t like turkey!?) and turkey for others!

      I had wanted to create a new traditional by going to the local Indian restaurant, but that was quickly shot down by others!

      I do enjoy the traditional turkey with all the trimmings right enough, so I look forward to it. After years and years of resistance, (im 37), I have even warmed to brussel sprouts – but only slightly!

      Is turkey the traditional dinner for you guys too, or what do you have?

      • We’re having turkey this year. We were going to try brining it but ran out of time! Usually we make a cornbread stuffing and have cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, broccoli and cheese and sweet potatoes. We also have a buffet with things like cheese, nuts, summer sausage, ham, crackers, dips, chips and guacamole. I made candies and peppermint bark with pretzels and rice crispy treats. We also made shortbread bars dipped in chocolate and fudge. Sometimes if we save up we’ll have a prime rib instead of turkey. But all the men love to make cold turkey sandwiches for days after Christmas! Just bread, mayo, turkey, and lettuce.

    • 3LittleShepherds,

      I’m having Christmas lunch with a niece and her family. She is a fantastic cook and it’ll be turkey and all the trimmings there. I just hope she’s remembered the cranberry sauce – I love it! Although the roasted pear chutney sounds delicious. I must see if I can find it over here and try it out.

      Then in the evening, we gather at my sister’s home where she is another superb cook and creates a wonderful buffet meal, featuring a beautifully mild chicken curry, for which she is famous.

      PS I have just read your menu again, and I have already cancelled my dining arrangements with niece and sister. I’ll be over there on the first available flight out of Glasgow airport. Will text when I arrive and you can arrange to pick me up, if, that is, they’ve not got me locked up as an extremist. Just pray the Archbishop of Glasgow doesn’t read this or he’ll tip them off … 😀

    • 3LittleShepherds,

      I’ve just had delicious soup followed by turkey with all the trimmings, mash and roast potatoes. You can’t beat it!

  3. A very holy and blessed Christmas and many thanks to all the faithful bloggers of goodwill at CT, but most of all thank you to Editor, without whom there would be no worthy, unadulterated, and uncompromised platform for faithful Catholic laity in these islands to add their voices to the fight for Tradition, the restoration of all things in Christ, and the triumph of the Immaculate Heart.

    I better throw in a few offerings for the Christmas crackers, but be warned.

    How many jugglers does it take to change a light bulb?

    Only one, but he’ll need at least three lightbulbs.

    How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?

    It doesn’t really matter. The light bulb has to really want to change itself.

    A piano-tuner was called to a nightclub to tune the piano. He was at it for five hours, but the bill only came to £3. The manager said: ‘Is that all? How come you worked for five hours to tune the piano and you only charge £3?’ He said: ‘What?’

    A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their tournament victories. After an hour, the manager came out and asked them to disperse.
    “But why?” they asked. “Because,” he said, “I can’t stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.”

    Sorry about that folks, but Editor started it.

    God bless

    • Leo,

      Your kind words greatly appreciated, but wholly undeserved. Dash it all… This humility of mine prevents me from accepting my rightful praise. I must put an end to it 😀

      Great jokes. I hope I’ve understood the one about the piano tuner; took a while but I think I got there in the end… he’s hard of hearing, is that it? I can be very slow at times, especially at this late hour, after a hectic day.

      All great fun, especially the psychiatrist on the light bulb really needing to want to change itself, and the “chess nuts”! Brilliant.

      Enjoy the Feast!

    • Gabriel Syme,

      Same to you and yours, and very especially that new firstborn daughter of yours. . Have a wonderful first Christmas as Santa Claus! You can help her sign up and choose her username and avatar early in the new year… 😀

  4. Happy Christmas to all CT bloggers, and every happiness in the new year. Silent Night is my favourite Carol, so I’ve copied it.

  5. A happy and holy Christmas to all the wonderful inhabitants of this blog.
    An especially happy one to our great hostess, for her Amazonian efforts.

    Wot about your diet ?- I hope the slimming class mates don’t read this blog!

  6. I wish everyone on this blog the happiest and holiest of times this Christmas.

    O Holy Night is one of my most favourite Christmas carols

  7. I’m a day late and a euro short, but a Happy and Blessed Christmas to all – not to mention Happy Feast of St. Stephen! Here’s a joke that requires a little knowledge of music (enjoy, Petrus…):

    A C, an E-flat and a G walk into a bar. The bartender, however, escorts them out the door immediately, saying “Sorry, we don’t serve minors here.”

  8. And here’s my recently discovered favorite Christmas carol, by Hector Berlioz, frequently set in the background during the Christmas season.

  9. Comment deleted.

    Editor: No. 4 in our About Us (“Terms & Conditions”) list warns that all recommendations/links etc. to sedevacantist sites will be deleted by the administrator.
    I hope you appreciate that, no matter how “traditional” their “wares” appear to be, the fact that they’ve got such a central teaching wrong – that Christ cannot fail His Church and that Peter is Peter, no matter how “bad” a “Peter” he may be, then they are not to be trusted on anything else. We prefer,therefore, to avoid their influence altogether.

    Thank you for your understanding 😀

  10. I’m not too sure how to post a music excerpt but I wonder if any of you heard the stunning version of O Magnum Mysterium in Carols from Kings? It is one of the most beautiful and spiritual pieces I have heard and the cello accompaniment was lovely. Made my Christmas!

  11. Wishing all contributors (including those who spend at least part of their time living under bridges) and readers at Catholic Truth a joyful and grace-filled Christmas season.

    Thought I’d share this poem by the prolific ‘Anonymous’ (originally in Greek):

    Every creature by Thee made
    On Thy Birthday homage paid:-
    Angels lent Thee hymn of praise,
    Heaven, the star with silver rays;
    Wise Men, incense, myrrh and gold;
    Shepherds, wonder manifold;
    Beasts, the manger, Earth, the cave –
    WE the Virgin-Mother gave.

    And this simple quote from St. John Damascene:

    ‘For what greater thing is there than that God should become man?’

    I also give you the following jokes which should only be read in the order presented for obvious reasons.

    Teacher: Billy, do you know the meaning of the word ‘monotony’?
    Billy: Yes sir. It’s when you’re married to just one person for your whole life.

    Slave-master goes below decks on a Roman warship and announces to the rowers chained to their oars in the galley, “Lads, I’ve got good news and bad news! The good news is that you can stop rowing for the next fifteen minutes! The bad news is that after that, the Captain wants to go water-skiing.”

    And….

    Son: Dad! Dad! I can’t spell ‘apocalypse’.
    Father: Never mind son. It’s not the end of the world.

  12. But having just listened to it, it is not the one they sung on Christmas Eve. That was an arrangement by the Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo! See if you like his version…

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